My professor, Mary Corey (History, UCLA), is always inspired and never dull, even in her darkest moments. Especially in her darkest moments.
When George W. Bush was reelected, Corey told our class that she was “in a decidedly bad mood,” but proceeded to give a colorful lecture anyway. She is filled with marvelous stories and spiked with a foul sense of humor.
She can talk for a whole hour and you would want her to continue.
But only if you are a liberal. If you are not, you find yourself decomposing in your seat or chewing through your own tongue.
Her bottom-line version of recent American history was some cocktail of male hegemony, racism, class systems, and the vast right-wing Republican conspiracy. Early in the quarter, she went on a rant against capitalism and the market system, which she defined as “the weird faith that everything will work out fine.” “Capitalism isn’t a lie on purpose. It’s just a lie,” she lectured us, “It’s easy for us to look back and say these people [who believe in markets] are dorks.” And for the climax, “[Capitalists] are swine.… They’re bastard people.”
I guess one could say in her behalf her candor at least was admirable. Most people would be reluctant to drop all pretense of professionalism in advancing an overtly political agenda in an academic classroom. In this regard, on the other hand, Corey shines. She professes the most offensive opinions as if they were uncontestable facts. She does it over and over—in every lecture, in every sentence. Here’s a sampling of statements she made that I jotted down or recorded in class:
“The Vietnam War was a big mistake. And, frankly speaking, the good side won.”
“Redistribution of wealth and equaling the playing field must be accomplished.”
“It is true that the color line is a dominant force in America today.”
“There is a class system in the United States.”
“The majority of Americans opposed the war.”
“We live in a tremendously racist society.”
“I believe Hillary was right. There really was a right-wing conspiracy.”
On one occasion, Corey delighted the class with the recitation of the following poem: “Clinton lied / Monica cried / Bush lied / Men died.” Do her political prejudices affect her grading too? I certainly was convinced my exams were graded unfairly and I don’t seem to be the only one.